Southern California breaking news and trends

LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to chair the Democratic National Convention

LA Mayor, will.i.am And Americans Promoting Study Abroad Announce Major Beijing Concert To Benefit Study Abroad

Jerod Harris/Getty Images for BGR

File: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and will.i.am announce partnership with Americans Promoting Study Abroad and Major Beijing Concert to benefit Study Abroad at Mendez Learning Center on November 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been chosen to chair this summer's Democratic National Convention, the L.A. Times reports. The position means he'll be a public spokesman for the convention, among other duties.

A formal announcement is scheduled Wednesday in Washington. Villaraigosa will join President Barack Obama that night for a fundraiser in L.A.

The Democratic Party plans to release a Web publicity video with Villaraigosa Wednesday, the L.A. Times reports, raising his national profile as a major Latino politician.

Villaraigosa endorsed Hillary Clinton in her 2008 presidential bid against Obama, serving as one of her national campaign chairmen. Once she dropped out, Villaraigosa switched his support to Obama.

The Democratic convention will take place in Charlotte, N.C., beginning Sept. 3. Obama is expected to be nominated as the Democratic presidential candidate.

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Fun returns! Beach football, Frisbee ban/fine to be eliminated

Kids throwing footballs on the beach

Tony Pierce/KPCC

Kids throwing footballs on a beach

Dust off that Frisbee and head to the beach. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is doing an about-face, getting rid of some old rules that restricted football and Frisbee on the sand. The change comes after a misunderstanding about those rules went viral.

It’s a classic case of good intentions, bad results. Last week the supervisors tried to “relax” some of the rules that said you can’t toss a football on a crowded beach if it endangers public safety.

But a couple of media outlets got it wrong — they reported that a beach football game would now cost you a thousand dollar fine.

The reports went viral. And the outrage poured in.

So Tuesday, the supervisors met to see if they could clarify things, but supervisor Don Knabe took it further. He recommended ditching the rules altogether, since nobody’s been ticketed for a beach football or Frisbee offense in 40 years.

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Simi Valley addresses a heroin 'epidemic'

simi valley simi store

Photo by Robin Kanouse via Flickr Creative Commons

Simi Valley residents spoke to NBC LA about what's being calling a heroin "epidemic" in their middle and upper-middle class region. Some community members said they moved to the area to avoid "big city problems," but after 14 people died of heroin overdoses last year, it was time to search for solutions. Drug experts say a heroin epidemic in a place like Simi Valley often begins with children taking prescription medications found in their homes. They move on to other drugs when, according to local parent Michael Cook, they realize that "heroin is a lot cheaper and a lot easier to get." Community members and parents met Monday to discuss the critical situation at a city council meeting.

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Alain Salas, Fremont High School teacher aide, arrested for sexual contact with student

A Fremont High School teacher aide was arrested Monday for sexual contact with a 15-year-old student, another in a string of arrests in recent weeks within LAUSD.

The FBI confirmed on Tuesday Alain Salas was arrested on campus, making it the third such arrest in recent weeks in the nation's second-largest school district. An FBI spokeswoman says he was booked for investigation of contact with a minor with intent to commit a sexual offense.

Salas, whose age hasn't been released, was expected to be charged by L.A. County prosecutors, AP reports.

Superintendent John Deasy says the FBI informed LAUSD that the man was arrested during a child sex investigation, but he's not providing details to the AP.

Two former Miramonte Elementary School teachers, an award-winning Hamilton High School teacher and an LAUSD janitor have all recently been implicated in crimes against children.

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Matt Groening draws attention with star no. 2,459 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

20th Century Fox Marketing

Matt Groening, creator of "The Simpsons" and recent $500,000 donor to UCLA's School of Film, Theater and Television, will be honored Tuesday with star no. 2,459 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Groening's sidewalk homage to celestial gas will be located at 7021 Hollywood Blvd, not far from the star of his famous Springfield family.

The ceremony for the 12-time Emmy Award winner begins at 11:30 a.m. and will be hosted by Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Leron Gubler. Guest speakers Hank Azaria (aka: Moe, Chief Wiggum, many more) and Yeardley Smith (voice of Lisa Simpson) will also be at the event.

Groening moved to Los Angeles in 1977 and began channelling his city stress into Binky, a rabbit cartoon featured in his "Life In Hell" comics. James L. Brooks approached the cartoonist in 1987 about an animated short stint on "The Tracey Ullman Show." 

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